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Latest Office 365 Update Brings Excel Coauthoring

Microsoft began rolling out some Office 365 improvements recently as part of its August update.

Most improvements are currently available to "fast-ring" Office Insider testers. However, they also will be available later, more generally, in about one to three weeks' time, which is typically how Microsoft delivers production-ready Office 365 updates.

One of the more notable additions is the ability to have coauthoring sessions using shared Excel files (it's long been available with Word). This feature is at the "general availability" release stage, meaning that it's deemed ready for use in production environments. The Excel files need to be stored on OneDrive, OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online for the coauthoring capability to work.

An "AutoSave" feature for Excel, PowerPoint and Word reached general availability. This feature works with files stored in OneDrive and SharePoint such that users never have to hit the save button. AutoSave also will work when users collaborate on files.

The Outlook e-mail client used on Windows systems has been redesigned to show the "rich profiles" of people. It pulls this information from the Microsoft Graph, a service that underlies various Office 365 applications with the capability of surfacing company information.

The Yammer enterprise collaboration solution now has an improved Office 365 reporting capability. Organizations can view the number of existing Yammer communities. They can also see how active those communities are. The activity report shows up in the Office 365 Admin Center. In addition, there's a new Yammer version 7 app for iPads that's available now in the Apple Store.

Lastly, Microsoft added a few improvements for Office 365 education users. Office 365 administrators can now "specify permissions for third-party apps" in Microsoft Teams. They also can "enable or disable private chat and class assignments." Teachers can add URL links within Microsoft Teams posts, which can point to class resources. Microsoft also added a OneNote notebook into Microsoft Teams for Office 365 education users, which is accessible for Microsoft Teams users via Mac, Windows and Web clients.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.